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Driller electrocuted in Virginia, June 13, 1987.

Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 87-52, 1987 Jul; :1-4
A 49 year old driller was electrocuted when the boom of his drilling machine contacted a 34,500 volt overhead power line. The construction company for which the man worked constructed and paved highways, employing 153 full time people. A written safety program was in place at the company and weekly safety meetings were held in the field. While there were no witnesses to the accident, it was known that the victim was in the process of setting up a drilling machine to drill holes for explosive to remove overburden in the path of construction. He had been operating a hydraulic drilling machine equipped with a boom having a 32 foot vertical height. A three phase 34,500 volt overhead power line was directly above the area to be drilled at a height of 29 feet. The field foreman had reminded him of the lines. The ground on which the victim was standing was wet from rain as he positioned the drilling machine. The boom was extended and being positioned vertically when the top section contacted the bottom conductor of the power lines, with the victim providing a path to ground. The cause of death was electrocution. It is recommended that employers comply with regulations concerning the operation of boomed vehicles near electric power lines, that operating controls for boomed vehicles be designed so as to insulate the operator from the vehicle when used from the ground, and that additional personnel be used to observe clearances, particularly when the view is partially obstructed.
NIOSH-Author; FACE-87-52; Region-3; Electric-power-transmission-lines; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Safety-practices; Construction-workers; Construction-Search
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division